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After Earth 

Like father, not so much like son

click to enlarge after-earth1.jpg

Centuries from now, a starship crashes on what remains of Earth, letting loose a terrible alien predator and forcing young Son of Will Smith to hunt for a distress beacon thousands of kilometres away. So goes the basic premise of After Earth, the newest home movie for father/son pair Will and Jaden Smith. Will dials himself back as a formidable general who eradicated his fear (or some such nonsense), which makes Jaden Smith's acting inability all the harder to see past. His frail physique highlights the relative dangers of the savage planet, but Smith the younger falls far from the tree in terms of movie star magnetism. Director M. Night Shyamalan has had a rough downslide of a career, but here he's wisely restrained to a simple survival story about overcoming fear. It's closer to Ray Bradbury than L. Ron Hubbard, and intensely watchable whenever Jaden stops hogging the screen.


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Vol 24, No 21
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